Ways To Tap Into Your Creativity March 21, 2017 12:42

“Nurture your own creativity. It’s the combination of the natural creative ability and also the courage to act and stamina to keep going on things.”

creativity

Figure out when you’re at your best

“A really simple, super-tactical thing people can do,” Kelley says, “is just kind of turn up the creative yield on ideas that are already starting to form in their minds, right? When do you have your best ideas? So if you’re a little bit mindful, people find that, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a time when I’m most creative, it’s … when I’m on a long commute and my mind is wandering,’ or if you find, like me, it’s the first five minutes of the morning. Then don’t jump out of bed or go back to sleep when the alarm goes off, stay in that kind of creative mindset for the first five minutes until the snooze alarm rings. So you find your time, and then you protect it, and then capture your ideas that occur during those times.”

“A really simple, super-tactical thing people can do,” Kelley says, “is just kind of turn up the creative yield on ideas that are already starting to form in their minds, right? When do you have your best ideas? So if you’re a little bit mindful, people find that, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a time when I’m most creative, it’s … when I’m on a long commute and my mind is wandering,’ or if you find, like me, it’s the first five minutes of the morning. Then don’t jump out of bed or go back to sleep when the alarm goes off, stay in that kind of creative mindset for the first five minutes until the snooze alarm rings. So you find your time, and then you protect it, and then capture your ideas that occur during those times.”

creativity

He suggests writing down good ideas immediately because you’ll most likely forget them. Kelley keeps two pads of paper at his bed at all times. “My brother, David, has a white board and marker in the shower,” Kelley says, adding people most commonly tell him the shower is their most creative idea space. “There is no email in the shower. There is nothing to engage your mind and so your mind gets to wander.”

It may also be a specific piece of music that helps your creativity flourish. “I wrote an entire book listening to 'Brian Eno  — Ambient 1: Music for Airports,’” says Kelley, who only listens to it when writing.

Once you know what gets your creative juices flowing, use that to your advantage.

“The great thing about that is it becomes Pavlovian. … It’s like, hey brain, remember what we do when this music plays?”

Find a “reverse mentor”

“Somebody who may or may not be 5, 10, 15, 20 years younger than you who is exposed to insight, trends or new ideas you might otherwise miss. The easiest way to do this is, for example, take them to lunch every second Thursday for the next six weeks. Explain that you want them to expand the horizon looking for stuff you should know about it. Whether it’s how to use WhatsAPP or a trend in the retail business or what people are talking about in the nightclubs of L.A.,” says Kelley. You may be wiser or have more education than this mentor, but you stand to learn even more. “You’ll be so much smarter, you’ll have so much more stimulus. … People tell me this really turns up their creativity.”

creativity

Change your routine

Kelley uses taking a “gap year” before college as an example, when young adults get to learn and experiment with new things beyond book learning. Kelley says someone already mid-career usually can’t quite afford or doesn’t want to do a whole gap year, “so you can designate a gap week or a gap month where you change up your routine. You start going to different restaurants, hanging out in different neighborhoods, maybe you meet different people, keep different hours, maybe take an online course during that month. … Try living in a different city for a little while. I actually did this last year and it totally changed my life. … It’s that old thing of a certain form of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”